Ambitious new plans for stepping up the government’s fight against fraud have been unveiled today (Thursday 2 March).
The Counter Fraud Profession Strategy outlines how the new Public Sector Fraud Authority (PSFA) will increase the skills, standards and capability of staff within government and beyond working on protecting public services from fraud.
As well as investing in counter fraud investigation skills, the cornerstone of the profession, the new strategy increases the focus on skills in fraud prevention and identification.
The government says it is also upskilling those that lead public sector counter fraud work and ensuring the 7,000 counter fraud professionals working across the public sector continue to develop their knowledge and skills. This will include 250 fraud risk experts trained by the end of 2023.
Apprenticeships are also a key focus of the new strategy, with the PSFA launching in 2024 a new Apprenticeship in Counter Fraud. This will run alongside the existing Fraud Investigation Apprenticeship.
The new strategy has been developed and will be delivered in collaboration with government, law enforcement and industry counter fraud and learning experts. It will create a diverse and skilled pipeline of counter fraud talent to prevent fraud against the public sector.
The Public Sector Fraud Authority is partnering with experts including from Cifas, University of Coventry and the Australia Commonwealth Fraud Prevention Centre to deliver the strategy.
It is estimated the cost of fraud and error against the public sector is at least £33 billion per year. Although often hidden, fraud is the most pervasive crime in the UK and must be rooted out.
Mark Cheeseman, Interim CEO of the PSFA and Head of the Government Counter Fraud Profession said:
Fraudsters are a committed, capable and evolving adversary and the public sector is just as affected by this hidden crime as other sectors.
The launch of the new Government Counter Fraud Profession (GCFP) strategy sets out how the government is investing in building and modernising its fraud fighting capability.
The GCFP was launched in 2018 to develop a common structure for counter fraud capability across government and for those leading the fight against the crime.
At its inception the Profession had 3,000 members across 17 organisations including HM Revenue and Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions, and the Serious Fraud Office.
Since then it has grown exponentially and it now has around 7,000 members across 48 organisations, including policing and local government.